Featured Fragrance: Night Song

Night Song 50ml

Indian oud, Tobacco, Champaca, Pink Lotus, Mysore Sandalwood, Myrrh, Frankincense, Labdanum and Vanilla.

This is a difficult fragrance to get to know. My personal favourite. Night Song begins with medicinal pungency – it conjures the scent-scape of a natural therapies clinic – liniments and bandages and tonics and bitters and compounded herbs greet you on first whiff.

It’s not especially unpleasant, but it reminds me of going to visit the acupuncturist and recognising that the previous patient’s treatment included moxa (the heated smouldering of artemisia bundles used in TCM). So there’s a smoky layer at first encounter, not how most people imagine a pretty sounding thing like a Night Song should smell. This strangeness is created by the tobacco and Indian oud. Very strange top notes, I know. For noses unaccustomed to real Indian oud, it is primal and raw and animalic in a completely different way to the harvested excretions of furry critters used in western perfumery. Indian oud, harvested from Aquilaria agallocha trees in Assam, is the whole barnyard. The Indian oud used in Night Song is the real deal, and for most people exposed to ‘oud’ in commercial fragrances, this is a completely different scent altogether. It is an acquired taste and yet once ‘met’ by the limbic system, an essential ‘colour’ on the palette of natural perfume. Black in hue and in scent. It is the Night…in Night Song.

So… you wait 10 minutes in the clinic waiting room, flipping through a pile of old National Geographics. Enthralled by some incredible photographs of mysterious, tiger-filled jungles in India, you swear you hear tablas playing off in the distance, and you even start to smell the dry, sweet drift of sandalwood incense. Startled, you look up from the magazine, and discover you have teleported into a lush, tropical garden park at dusk. The air is singing with the molasses-thick scents of champaca flowers and pink lotus. The pairing of these two heavy florals is what makes Night Song so incredible for me. The earthy, sweet grunge of pink lotus that smashes head-on with the intensity of the champaca.

Champaca (a magnolia) is a complex and difficult flower to incorporate in perfume. It often king-hits its way to the front, and bombards all else in the flask with it’s bombastic presence. The earthiness of Pink Lotus – also a powerhouse fragrance, enters the ring to engage in a battle that may never be won. There is the crux of it. The sexual tension that exists between the opposing florals is the true substance of Night Song.

It is the dark, earthy anchor created by the tobacco and oud in tandem with the resins – Myrrh and Frankincense, and the creamy sweet Mysore sandalwood that provide a sturdy scaffold for the florals to wrestle around upon. Vanilla amplifies the sweet and gustatory elements of every floral facet of Night Song, causing a creamy/fruity layer to emerge – a tropically humid, sweat-soaked, erotic tryst in the moonlight.

This perfume is a fragrant opera, at times incomprehensibly dense and overwhelmingly enormous, yet sexy as anything I’ve ever smelled. Each time the pink lotus or champaca appears to yield, I feel a thrill of joy and wonder. Who will win?

Best by far when worn in humid, hot weather, I imagine Night Song as the queenly scent worn by the Empress Draupadi – also named Yojanagandha – (Sanskrit: योजनगन्धा) – ‘she whose fragrance can be felt for miles’.



photo (top) Humayun’s tomb and Dili Haat, New Delhi TR©2012




5 thoughts on “Featured Fragrance: Night Song

  1. Hi Teone.

    I had trouble liking Night Song. It went straight to my memory of being ‘abandoned’ for weeks as a small child, in a crowded unsympathetic ward at Camperdown Children’s Hospital. It immediately smelled like bad bed pans and hospital disinfectant and I had to wash it off my wrist again and again.

    So after reading your enjoyable blog comments, that this clinical odour was meant to be the kick off, and that it is a good scent in hot weather, I relented during the recent heat and experimented with it again.

    The first thing I noticed was that, although I was expecting the piss and bum concoction, it came through as something I hadn’t pinpointed before – the smell of the Queen of the Night flowering cactus as she pumps out her powerful advert for pollination to passing moths and other creatures of the night – the almost narcotic smell of painfully sharp vanilla/fallen fruit/ metallic smoke, so urgently raw and primeval it almost makes humans gasp for air.

    So, once I had this springboard, I was ready to let the experience envelope me. and have finally entered the other world this fragrance offers.

    There is the moxa effect, but there is also a lot of sexiness going on at this acupuncturist’s. It’s not an orgy of the senses but a rare, intense dance that one feels privileged to attend. And yes – it’s an intoxicating dance of opposites that entwine and separate only to embrace magnetically again as they furl and unfurl, higher into the night sky.

    Without a doubt there is sublime artistry here. The joy for me is the majestic cool that blooms amidst the layers of the dance, and instead of reeling from the heat I can now be renewed by Night Song’s refrain.

    Liked by 1 person

      • AND just want to say that this fragrance is getting easier to access now the heat has ‘ripened’ it further. The lingering dry down is so deep with amber, and as gorgeous as black silk stockings. Is that what you were expecting would happen?

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I first blended this one it was still Winter. I detected that fruity/floral/ambery core and just knew that it would be truly amazing in the heat. All of the ingredients flourish in very hot climates so it just made sense that the Summer furnace was it’s springboard. And it is. SO pleased you came ’round. It’s not an easy one to get to know and to persevere with so thanks for giving it another go.

          Liked by 1 person

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